Many couples join our weight management program together. The support of committing to a healthy lifestyle with your significant other is invaluable. Occasionally there is some frustration, as men typically lose weight faster than women. Dieting and losing weight for men is usually a ‘sprint to the finish’ whereas so many ladies feel more like we’ve spent a lifetime dieting, and will be lucky to ever reach the finish line.
Let’s Talk Body Composition
Genetically speaking, women have a higher fat cell count, which is helpful during child-bearing years to ensure proper energy conservation for pregnancy. Men typically have more lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories-even at rest. The muscle-to-fat ratio is very important to ensure continued weight loss.
Unfortunately, most men who gain weight primarily gain it in the abdominal region. Women after menopause also tend to develop this “apple” distribution of abdominal weight. This type of central weight deposition is more medically serious. Abdominal weight gain often causes insulin resistance, a metabolic condition, which leads to increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Fortunately, abdominal weight gain in men and women responds well to a diet created to mobilize it. Adequate protein intake as well as controlled carbohydrate and healthy fat intake are all essential to combating and reversing the progression of insulin resistance.
The Soul Side of Things
Many people, men and women both, find food comforting, and use it as a form of a refuge. Sometimes it’s alcohol, sometimes it’s a brownie.
We’ve all experienced the “chocolate escape.”
It is very helpful to redefine what food is for your body. Food is not a friend, or a reward or a comfort. Food is to be used for nutrition and to feed your cells, and developing this mindset can help you gain control over your emotional eating behaviors.
Based on statistics, men are less likely to suffer from binge eating disorders than women, but in turn they may drink more alcohol, or eat higher fat meats like steak. Women typically eat more foods, like sweets or salty snacks.
The Bottom Line – Support
We want to be fit and at a healthy weight for ourselves, but we also want the same for the man in our life, so that we can both enjoy our life and health together.
A few tips would be to make sure you avoid having food or drinks be one of the few sources of entertainment or pleasure you share. It’s helpful to arrange your schedules so both partners can exercise, without missing obligations or slacking on responsibilities. Younger families, especially those with children, typically have to plan work out time so that each adult can have time to work on his or her fitness before the day is packed with caring for everyone else’s needs.
As a mother of four young children, my husband and I make arrangements so I can go to the gym in the morning, and he can go in the afternoon. We divide and conquer our family responsibilities, and make our spouse’s health time just as important as our own. Better yet, if you can exercise together, celebrate what your bodies can do, and get stronger as a couple.
Keep in mind, it’s too easy to sabotage your own or your spouse’s efforts, and skip workouts or overindulge in food and drink. Support each other, and indulge yourselves with the gift of health, and savor your time together.
To learn more, please call our office at 239-288-2789.